INFLUENCE POLICY AND PUBLIC OPINION WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
WHAT DO FACEBOOK AND TWITTER HAVE TO DO WITH POLITICS?
When Barack Obama tweeted his first presidential campaign message in April 2007, Twitter was less than a year old. Campaigning on social media was a novel idea at the time, and relatively few people saw his posts. Ten years later, almost everyone is aware that Twitter is one of Donald Trump’s preferred methods of communicating with his supporters.
If you’ve ever visited Donald Trump’s Twitter account, or you’ve seen screenshots of his tweets, you might have noticed that he gets thousands of likes and retweets within the first hours (sometimes minutes) of posting. He knows this, and it is partly why he uses this venue to communicate with his supporters. Even the harshest Trump critic has to acknowledge that he has mastered the art of manipulating his press coverage. Often a single tweet is enough to dominate the news cycle.
USING FACEBOOK AND TWITTER TO SUPPORT MOCS
Enough is enough – it’s time to leverage Trump’s favorite tool and use it to fight against his agenda and to support progressive policies and politicians. Fortunately, there are a few easy steps for you to do this, and they only take a few minutes.
- If you don’t already know who they are, find your Members of Congress (MoCs)
- Visit this link to locate the Facebook pages and Twitter handles for your three MoCs.
- Follow them! This will ensure that you see their posts in the most timely manner. If you do not already have an account on Facebook and/or Twitter, please see the links near the end of this post for tutorials.
- Experts recommend that liking and sharing or retweeting posts are the most efficient way to leverage social media. This will garner the most attention.
On Facebook, like and share your MoCs’ posts. Ask your friends to do the same.
On Twitter, like and retweet their posts.
CAN COMMENTS OR REPLIES INFLUENCE MOCS?
There is disagreement about whether Tweets or Facebook comments directed at your MoCs carry any influence. Recent guidelines offered by former Congressional staffer Emily Ellsworth and the authors of the Indivisible Guide (A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda) suggest that these types of social media activism have less impact than phone calls, emails or letters to MoCs. However, a recent study by the Congressional Management Foundation found that, “members of Congress are more engaged in social media than in previous years and are far more responsive to constituent concerns that come in via various social media platforms.”
The take-away? If commenting or tweeting is part of your daily social media routine, do it! This is especially true if you have a lot of friends and/or followers. If that doesn’t describe you, never fear. The impact of thousands (or tens of thousands) of likes, shares, and retweets can and will help your MoCs get their messages out and influence public opinion.
Visit SuitUp Nation’s Facebook Group to join in the conversation and become part of the #SUN movement. Make sure to let us know when you’ve taken action! Leave us a comment on our Facebook Page! Tell everyone you’re a bad a** activist who’s standing up for Human Rights all over North America!